It's not at all unusual for Formula One drivers on teams that have connections to consumer automakers to spend some of their off time developing road cars for those companies. Countless Ferrari street offerings have been tweaked by Michael Schumacher. Last week, as Jarno Trulli was waiting for his first crack at the Lotus T127 F1 car, he spent some time shaking down the new Evora Cup racer at the Snetterton circuit in the UK.
Trulli and race engineer Gianluca Pisanello spent two days working on suspension, aerodynamic and engine calibrations. The Evora will be used in a new single make series along the lines of the long-running Porsche Cup. The car is also eligible for GT4 class racing against the likes of the Audi R8 LMS and Porsche 911s. The 4.0-liter Toyota based V6 has been bumped up to 400 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque and given a dry-sump lubrication system, and its light weight will be a necessary ally in the battle with more powerful cars. While you wait for the series to get cranking, you can slake your curiosity on our high-res gallery below and the press release after the jump.
Jarno Trulli develops his first Lotus race car
F1 Racing driver Jarno Trulli assists in the development of the Lotus Evora Cup race car during its first test session at Snetterton.
The Lotus Evora Cup race car is the latest addition to the Lotus Motorsport racing stable. Fresh from its debut at the Autosport International racing car show in Birmingham the Evora Cup race car was given its first shake-down test at a wintery Snetterton circuit in Norfolk, UK on the 10th and 11th of February 2010.
Lotus Motorsport is conducting an extensive development program for the Evora Cup race car, with Jarno Trulli and his Race Engineer, Gianluca Pisanello bringing their vast racing, development and engineering experience to fine tune the latest Lotus mid-engined race car.
Jarno Trulli and Gianluca Pisanello provided specific input into the aerodynamic balance for slow, medium and fast corners, guidance on the racing setup of the suspension geometry and direction on the engine's calibration.
After driving the Lotus Evora Cup for the first time, Jarno Trulli said, "I have enjoyed driving the road going Lotus Evora very much and I believe that the Evora Cup will be a very competitive race car package. It was very rewarding to be the first to drive the Evora Cup race car even though the snowy conditions at Snetterton were fairly challenging at times!"
Jarno continued, "The car will continue to be developed with new updates coming soon, but even after the initial drive it is obvious that the car has huge potential. I look forward to working with Lotus Motorsport in developing the car further and I know that my years of motorsport experience will help make the Evora Cup race car even better."
Claudio Berro, Director of Motorsport at Group Lotus plc stated, "It is a privilege to work on the development of the Evora Cup race car with such an experienced driver and engineering team as Jarno Trulli and Gianluca Pisanello and I believe that this collaboration will produce a great race car for a range of motorsport applications. It is a very exciting time for Lotus and I am honoured to be leading the motorsport programmes at Lotus, starting with the Lotus Evora Cup racing car and race series.
Gianluca Pisanello, Race Engineer for Jarno Trulli said, "I am impressed with the whole Evora Cup race car package, which demonstrates that the road going Lotus Evora is such a competent sports car in the first place and an excellent basis to develop a competitive race car."
In the past a number of Lotus F1 drivers have successfully raced or assisted in the development of Lotus Cars including F1 World Champions Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell. Jim Clark was a great exponent of the three wheel drift in his Lotus Cortina, campaigning the Lotus to win the British Touring Car Championship in 1964. Whilst Nigel Mansell raced for Lotus he was involved in the development of the prototype Active Suspension Lotus Esprit.
The Evora Cup race car is an evocative sports car that will offer a great platform to race in high level motor sport. The GT4 race car will go on sale starting at £120,000 excluding taxes for the sprint racing version, with the endurance specification race car £150,000 excluding taxes.
The final design, aero' package and techincal specifications will be presented at the Geneva Motorshow in March 2010.
For more information please check out http://www.lotusevoracup.com
NOTES The Lotus Evora Cup 2010 Race Series
The 2010 Evora Cup series is a European points based series with points initially being awarded to competitors for entering races and with points values awarded relative to Evora finishing positions. There will be five points for attending any eligible national race meeting with five points awarded for the first Evora to finish down to one point for the fifth. A prize fund of at least €100,000 will be available.
The series will then culminate with two Lotus Festivals. All the competitors from around Europe will be invited to race at these festivals and there will be double points on offer. The championship winner will be the driver who accrues the most number of points from a maximum of 6 races over the 2010 season.
The main operating subsidiary of Group Lotus plc is Lotus Cars Limited, which has two operating divisions - Lotus Engineering and Lotus Cars. Lotus Engineering is an internationally recognised automotive engineering consultancy based in Norfolk, UK. Global facilities include those in Michigan (USA), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), China and offices in Germany and Japan, with rapid expansion in new territories such as South East Asia.
Lotus Engineering provides comprehensive and versatile consultancy services to many of the world's OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, offering a full engineering service from initial concept and project design through development and integration of the complete vehicle to meet all worldwide markets and customers to full production. This includes third party 'niche vehicle' engineering and manufacture worldwide.
Lotus Cars builds world class, prestige, high performance sports cars for sale in 37 countries. These include the iconic Lotus Elise, the Exige, the 2-Eleven and Lotus' latest model, the Lotus Evora. Lotus is a global high-tech company, expanding rapidly and committed to driving forward technology for both Lotus Cars and its Engineering clients, spearheading research into such areas as hybrids, electric vehicles and renewable fuels.